O Lucky Man by Alan Catlin

“Yes, Sir, Fate can be a motherfucker”
  John Gregory Dunne

Some say it the luck of the poets,
not necessarily the Irish, though some
of the poets were, without a doubt, Irish.
Lucky the way Berryman was lucky,
as he waved, witnesses said he actually did,
before jumping from a bridge over the
muddy Mississip. Or lucky like Lowell
was in love and family wars, talented wives,
all three of them, novelists, though he stole
from personal letters from the second
to write of the soon-to-be-third, one of
the most awful books ever. Lucky dying
in a cab, returning to the second with a portrait
painted of the third, painted by her previous
husband, one of the most renowned artists
of his time. I often wonder whose property
that painting became and how much it was
sold for given how L. Freud’s go for millions
apiece, then and now. Or lucky like Delmore,
feted young as both a poet and a prose stylist,
whose dreams ended irresponsibly, in a pauper’s
rat hole.  Or lucky like Jarrell, whose drinking
helped fuel his acerbic reviews  but not the poems
he no longer wrote,  dead before his time,
either by accident or design,  beneath the wheels
of  a car. Or lucky like Hugo, sober for awhile
in late in life love and marriage, then back to
the sauce, master narrator of his fate,
dead of heart attack, no doubt aided by resuming
drinking. Or lucky like the silver tongue Welshman
who could always cadge a drink and charm a woman
to a bed, felled in a barroom one shot beyond
the bar record and not yet forty, though the poems
had long ago ceased. O lucky men, all of them,
poets dying before their time, drunk and
disorderly, all of them.  Their words supersede them.

acatlin multi

Alan Catlin is a widely published poet in the US of A and elsewhere. His most recent book is “Books of the Dead: a memoir with poetry” about the deaths of his parents. He is a retired professional barman and the editor of the online poetry zine misfitmagazine.net.

Searching For Hookers On 79th Street by Omar Alexandre

and have you ever had the urge
the desire to just fuck
it doesn’t matter whom with or where
you just need to fuck
to pound on some flesh
the urge leads you to get in your car
at one in the morning
out to search for that flesh

the scent of lust in the air
and like a hungry wolf you search for it
howling like a mad dog
you don’t care how much it costs
or what’s it gonna take
as long as the urge is satisfied
assuage this prodigious desire

so you keep driving, searching
and you finally spot one
she’s standing at the corner
it’s a bit dark a little indiscernible
you drive closer
turn off your head lights
she knows they all know
you wait anxiously tightening your grip on the steering wheel
this is it
she walks over
you roll down the passenger’s side window
you take a good look and then it happens
in the most roughest of voices ever
“how can i help you, darling.”
it’s a fucking man
a dick pretend cunt in a purple tight dress
you figure you’ve driven this far
and lips are lips
so fuck it, sure honey, you can help
squeeze these lemons till the juice runs down my leg
when it’s done you drive off like hell
swearing to never tell a soul
so, have you ever had an urge like this
allowing it to drive you through such impromptus lengths
of course not, for you are sane
not like some asinine fuck like me

Omar Alexandre

My pen name is Omar Alexandre. I write from Miami, Florida. I’m an aspiring filmmaker. I’ve recently completed my first short film and one of my music videos will be screened during the 16th annual Miami Short Film Festival. I’m submitting 5 poems. Thank you for reading. Instagram, @alexandre88

Silhouette of a Lost Love Driving in Reverse by Tom Sheehan

Now, hanging on a road sign, night worry
working its way, trollops in my gut giving
out names I can’t remember, a single light
bends a curving hillside road, night’s edge
comes sneaking up on me.

Arms of fatigue put forth hands putting out
fingers touching here with foul fervor. I am
alone, liking it less than last night in a half
crowd of other loneliness.

One witness recalls, real as an open blouse,
bona fide as underpants undone on fabulous
witchy length of long oh perfect legs, hangs
on with her imagery locked in place.

Nothing else bears such glamour or witchery.

Sheehan served in the 31st Infantry in Korea 1951-52, graduated Boston College 1956, published 30 books, multiple works in Rosebud, Literally Stories, Linnet’s Wings, Serving House Journal, Copperfield Review, Literary Orphans, Eastlit, DM du Jour, In Other Words-Merida, Literary Yard, Rope & Wire Magazine, Green Silk Journal. He has received 32 Pushcart nominations and 5 Best of Net nominations.

When My Father Mounted My Mother by Grant Guy

when my father mounted my mother
it was domestic rape
but she was gonna give him a son
come hell / high water
goddamn you you bitch

i was to be the replacement son
you know for the one that died

i never became the replacement son
i was a disappointment

i dont think my dead brother
wld have matched up to my fathers idea of a son
both the living & dead wld disappoint the old man
he went out & found another woman to plant his seed in
& she gave him a son
but my mother made damn sure
my father wld never see his son
come hell or high water
goddamn you you bastard
the husband & the wife
hated each other more than god
& the devil hated each other
& my dead brother
& the brother i never met

& i
paid the price of admission

Grant Guy is a Winnipeg, Canada, poet, writer and playwright. Former artistic director of Adhere + Deny. His writings have been published in Canada, the United States and England. He has three books published; Open Fragments, On the Bright Side of Down and Bus Stop Bus Stop. He was the 2004 recipient of the Manitoba Arts Council’s 2004 Award of Distinction and the 2017 recipient of the Winnipeg Arts Council’s Making A Difference Award.

In the Age of Mere Relief by Bob Carlton

Many now are without faith,
and those of us with it still
find no shelf of belief
on which to let it stand.

Sun and cloud, moon and fog,
alternate throughout the years
without meaning.

The light pours down
without pity,
and we stand silent in the pain
of our literalness and fortitude.

The crass fragrance of easiness
tempts us into a chamber
of brittle surface and gaudy decor.
We fit what we can
into such confines as it provides.
We ease our way
into a life without living,
showered with such grace
as we can never apprehend.

Bob Carlton

Bob Carlton (www.bobcarlton3.weebly.com) lives and works in Leander, TX.

A Mohawk Spirit Guide & Rabbit’s Scrotum… Aww, like Twice by Paul Tristram

I’m not even remotely nervous. Everything will go well at my Case Review this afternoon (The voices have told me so). Oh, you’re allowed to ‘Hear Voices’, it’s acting upon negative advice and prompts which is frowned upon… and I’ve not done that since the kidnapping episode.
Thank you, yes, I’m feeling much better. It’s all down to a new book on meditation which I’ve been reading, literally changed my life, made me a new person. It was quite boring at first, just laying there (With the voices laughing and mocking), until an Oak Tree appeared out of nowhere… no, no, I was on the Ward bed, it appeared inside my mind.
Between two thick branches up the top of the trunk was a hollow, and a head popped out, ‘How Bizarre’ I thought, then concentrated more.
I just knew that it wasn’t imagination, because I wanted it to be wearing a hood or feathered cap or something, you know Merlinesque… but instead it had a liver and white, half-erect Mohawk, with the sides growing back… bit tawny owlie, if you ask me.
It was a male, dare I say it, Spirit of some kind, not of this realm obviously, piercing green eyes like baby fern shoots cwtching up emerald chunks of magic… yeah, I know, right, Wow!
Then he/it got its telepathy on… it’s not as pervy as you’d think it would be, a little tingly at first, almost like the gentle beginnings of foreplay before that FUCKING BEAST COMES OUT! Sorry, ‘Circle, Square, Triangle, Wave’, there, all better now, I use those four words as a steadying mantra.
Where was I? Oh, yes… the telepathy, it was images as well as babbling brook sounds at first, a kind of audio Celtic knot-work with Times New Roman subtitles… ace, yeah, I focused sturdier… and fuck me sideways but it spoke”

“You are not Mad, Madness is a fixed term stuck and nailed to Logic. There is nothing ‘Logical’ about the evolving seasons of the mind. A Shaman does not see the truth, only possible ‘Directions’ and ‘Eventual Outcomes’ (Of which there are many), ‘Chance’ swings her fat-arse into the equation quite regularly, and ‘Choice’ is a matter of individualistic perception, based upon underlying fears, phobias, likes, dislikes and a whole gambit of personal pressure-gauges ‘Dare-I-Cross-This-Line’ initiatives, strengths, weaknesses and ‘Streetcars Named Desires’.
You’re fucked if you start to wander along another person’s mental safety rope… whilst your very own is close at hand, dig?
‘Confused’ and ‘Muddled’ are a slight tone different… yet, they both lead to the very same point of ‘Uncertainty’. Tearing down the barriers of conformity and the walls of structured reasoning will leave you open and vulnerable to shit. There is no protection against the ‘Darkness’ except ‘Light’… and that is what you should be seeking. It hides in many forms and places… beware ‘Gypsy Music’ and use the word ‘Nuh’ as a talisman, often.
Nietzsche had it wrong, and is now a fucking milkman on the ‘Other Side’, I kid you not…
‘Empathy’ is your biggest strength, but it has to be earthed with ‘Common Sense’ otherwise you’re leaving yourself open to opportunistic vampire vultures… and remember ‘Narcissistic Rage’, besides being hilarious, is simply ‘Dark Applause’, it’s Nature’s way of showing you that you’re on the right track :)
Inside Out always, unless you are only glancing off and not stopping. Carry everything inside your head, mate… except beer money and things deemed irreplaceable… ‘Marley’s Ghost’ was in the wrong book and should have had top billing in the Bible.
‘Letting Go’ will build confidence. ‘Stubbornness’ is powerful, yet it has to work with the grain. You can want something as much as you like, but if it’s not on your ticket… you’ll simply end up losing your soul to pettiness and personal mishap.
Take ‘Courage’ and ‘Heart’ from the small things. You are Alive and Breathing… that’s a good start… there are other people out there clutching blindly at gravestones.
Your job is to survive, progress and learn. Knowledge is critical, yet Experience is the other side of that coin… use The Hermit and The Fool cards as willy-nilly and often as possible.
Stay away from people who use the word ‘Humble’ not in reference to themselves… they are merely trying to diminish your ‘Shine’.
You will hurt and upset people… the less the better… Karma’s not a bitch but a wrecking ball on fire… when not dealing from her happy hand.
Surfaces are for skimming pebbles off, eating vittles on, and painting Masterpieces upon… look in between things, always around corners before stepping, words are never empty and flattery is bait only. Sincerity almost became a Ghost Town in the 1980’s. Look backwards selectively and forward with hope… don’t fight them on the beaches, you’ll get sand in your talent, focus not upon success but on achieving.
A stopped clock is not right twice a day, it’s a falsehood, it’s asleep and unaware of the unwarranted praise it’s being given.
Some would say that being scared of the shadows is half the way to cleverness.
There is buried treasure in imagination, but it takes alchemy to gateway it home and nail it Fact.
Two wrongs don’t make a right, that’s just a pathway to an extended prison sentence.
Love is soul medication not a destination. Hatred a childish merry-go-round. Compassion a gift, to both giver and receiver, desperation a weakness, and Sloth a pox of the Soul.
Stay both ‘Unique’ and ‘Brilliant’, never follow ‘The Joneses’… and remember a sycophant is just the arse-end of a Fool.
Oh, and stay away from Ketamine, Lead Weights and the Guest Houses of Merthyr Tydfil.
Now, tutty-bye, I have shit to do elsewhere… take this gift and keep it safe. Teleport your negativity and anxieties into it daily.”

“With that, he/it winked, rather violently, and the whole tree shimmied and dissipated back to whence it fucking came from… bringing me back with a jolt to my body, which was still laid upon the hospital bed, listening to ‘That Woman Who Had Her Heart Broken And Now Makes Recordings To Help Other People In Despair To Relax’ repeating “now breathe out once more and open your eyes to a New You”
I felt something within my clenched right fist, and upon looking saw a little summer-sky blue velvet drawstring purse with two crystals inside, one ‘Rose Crystal’ and t’other a ‘Tigers Eye’.
Here, just take a look, I’ve carried it around in my pocket ever since. It reminds me of a rabbit scrotum, with its little two lumps… how cute, yeah.
Yes, sure, I’ll lend you the meditation book, I no longer need it… I’m mind-travelling all over the shop almost nightly. But, remember, opening up the gates of the mind is only the beginning… it’s the sophisticated traversing onwards and upwards that matters most… you are never really crazy if it’s all just a muthafucking journey, innit, like.”

paul smoking - Copy

Paul Tristram is a Welsh writer who has poems, short stories, sketches and photography published in many publications around the world, he yearns to tattoo porcelain bridesmaids instead of digging empty graves for innocence at midnight; this too may pass, yet. Buy his books ‘Scribblings Of A Madman’ (Lit Fest Press) http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1943170096 ‘Poetry From The Nearest Barstool’ at http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1326241036 And a split poetry book ‘The Raven And The Vagabond Heart’ with Bethany W Pope at http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1326415204 You can also read his poems and stories here! http://paultristram.blogspot.co.uk/

Today I’ll Be An Artist by John Grochalski

sometimes
when i want to feel good
about myself
i’ll get out the paper and pencils
and start drawing things
like cartoon dogs and batman
wonder woman and birds with long beaks
and the kids will gather around me
and say, how’s you get so good at drawing?
i’ll tell them practice, children, practice
then i’ll send them away
with their own paper and pencils
and i’ll feel good for a minute
like some wizened old sage
until i inevitably think back
to art class in high school
and the teacher who made me
walk the campus looking for a new pencil
instead of letting me sharpen the one that i had
how he wrote in red all over my final assignment
“maybe choose something else
to do with your life”
or sometimes i’ll just sit there
and think about how there’s still
twenty some years until retirement
if i even live that long
and that pretty much gets me right back
to how i was feeling
in the moments before i sat there and thought
today i think i’ll be an artist.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

John Grochalski is the author of The Noose Doesn’t Get Any Looser After You Punch Out (Six Gallery Press 2008), Glass City (Low Ghost Press, 2010), In The Year of Everything Dying (Camel Saloon, 2012), Starting with the Last Name Grochalski (Coleridge Street Books, 2014), and the novel, The Librarian (Six Gallery Press 2013). Grochalski currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, in the section that doesn’t have the bike sharing program.

The Really Bad Stuff by Howie Good

The whole night it was slam, bang, boom. It bubbled up from the doors, seeped in from the windows. You just looked around and saw things were totally gone. All the shops were empty. It’s like a tornado went in and swept everything up. I was shocked. I didn’t think it would happen. They told us to keep inside, to be ready for anything. It’s had me spooked for years. Now we’re also worried about our houses blowing up. You know how they say you hear the train noise? I heard it.

*

I’m really having a hard time understanding today right now. Dave put a shotgun to his chest so we could study his brain. I didn’t like him staring at me. He often talked to himself. Now we’re kind of like: How do we know if he was telling the truth or not? I’m not a big fan of dialogue. What I fill it with will only be known when it comes spilling out. People are left wondering if it’s going to be a disaster. There will be others out there who will make connections we haven’t seen. To be honest, we just cook bacon and eggs. But sometimes you need bacon and eggs.

*

I’ve seen the really bad stuff on television. But actually experience it? No. Never. I’m not used to this. What might make sense in one place might not in another. Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God. Everything is thrown everywhere. We don’t have anything to stop it. I just feel so sad and empty. At one point I couldn’t see for about five minutes. You press a button, an alarm goes off. A lot of laughter, crying, yelling, tears. They’re laughing at us, every one of us. I don’t care what they do as long as fire doesn’t start coming out the windows.

*

There’s a lot of screaming and praying to Jesus. I guess I’m confused about why this scene. I come and I go and I come and I go. It all depends on the path. I don’t know where I am. I don’t know where we’re going to sleep tonight. I just know it’s totally different from before, when you could get killed for a pair of sneakers. Some people are trembling. I’m composing, if not music, sounds like waves on the beach or perhaps wind in the forest. Do you realize how dangerous that is? I dream of standing ovations.

*

It’s important to test during the day whether or not you’re dreaming. I had a dream and then I turned on the lights and discovered that I had blood all over me. I don’t ever want to forget the shock of that discovery. We’re recreating it with historical obsession and mesmerizing detail. The school there is full of dead bodies. First thing Monday morning, I want to find out why. Anything can happen: I take more medicine than I should; there’s a bloody knife on the bed; they burn the man to the ground.

Howie Good

Howie Good is the recipient of the 2015 Press Americana Prize for Poetry for his collection “Dangerous Acts Starring Unstable Elements”.

Satisfied by Mike Ferguson

I don’t want
to come to it
too soon

to deify
consumerism
or
just need
or
greed

but if looking
for a surprise

up the street
that garage
passed by
even
next door

any yard sale

each temple of
throwaway
and
discarded
and
rejected
and
no longer of any use

well, now is
the time

so
perhaps
probably
it has to be
an apocalyptic find

to be sanctified

unlikely a knick-knack
something electrical
but frayed
and most definitely not
the seller
in a bath
naked
photographed

whenever

just that other
kind of
perfectly unexpected
believable
surprise

and for some
small exchange
a token of give and
take

here is a
visitation
of want
and hoping

that can be
satisfied

Mike Ferguson 2

Mike Ferguson is an American resident in the UK from ’67, permanently since ’76 when Michigan then presaged the Trumpworld of today. Published widely in the poetry small presses as well as education texts, he is now retired from actual teaching.

Stroller by Jon Bennett

By afternoon the stack
of milk crates are gone
the baby strollers
the bums use
can’t bare their weight
so they sit on the crates
When I was new here
I once looked inside
a baby stroller
I saw some used syringes
a couple adult diapers
a half pint
of milk
and one loose cigarette
clean, and white
and all potential.

Jon Benett

Jon Bennett writes and plays music in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood. You can find more of his work on Pandora and iTunes. For booking please contact jonbennett14@hotmail.com